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Dancing("All the world's follies")

There is a little-known harpsichord piece by François Dandrieu (organist at the French royal court, c.1682 – 1738) called “Les folies amusantes” (“Amusing Follies”), published in 1724.


I do not know what the precise “follies” were that Dandrieu had in mind, but the tune suggests a chase (see below) and the piece was printed in a collection of harpsichord pieces celebrating “persons of the wars, hunting and village feasts”.


It is possible that Dandrieu was signalling some wider hints with the word “follies” as well. Lewd follies were all the rage in Dandrieu's time. Also, more serious follies come to mind, especially in the extended and ruinous French wars of the time, or in the intricate events taking place at the French royal court.


While I don't know what Dandrieu's exact follies were, I did like the mood and the powerful entrainment of the piece. Moreover, follies or even craziness of all sorts are certainly not limited to 18th century France. So I borrowed Dandrieu's chord progression and built my own little piece on top of it, called “Toutes les folies du monde”, or “All the World's Follies”.


As in the case of Dandrieu, I leave it to you to picture your favourite type of folly as you listen to my piece -- be it a simple dance as pictured here or any other folly that comes to your mind.


Piano, standard tuning:

Harpsichord, Ruckers, 415 Hz tuning:

Harpsichord, Grimaldi, 432 Hz tuning:


Video version
Music score
MIDI file

Illustration: Detail of frontispiece of François Dandrieu's "Livre de Pièces de Clavecin", Paris 1724. Downloaded from IMSLP.


Dandrieu's "Les Folies Amusantes":

Harpsichord, 415 Hz tuning:

Music sheet (original downloaded from IMSLP)